Thursday, March 09, 2006

I May Not Know Art, But I Know What I Want To Repress

"Fig leaves? Hell, let's take a sledgehammer to it!!!"
(Via ARC ARTicles)
PETE PANSE is a talented and popular high school art teacher in Middletown, NY who uses traditional techniques to to train his students. In December 2005 Mr. Panse was suspended from his job for recommending that some of his advanced students consider taking figure drawing courses that included nude figure drawings. Mr. Panse is suspended from his job pending hearings after which he may be permanently fired, ending a 25-year teaching career. In the meantime, his students are sitting in study hall learning nothing and failing to prepare the materials necessary for their receiving scholarships.
Specifically, Mr. Panse was charged with making “comments that students could construe as being of a sexual or personal nature...or using [his] position as a teacher to put students into any situation reasonably likely to make them feel uncomfortable because of the injection of sexuality into...the substance of [his] comments”.
This is a clear-cut case of an excellent teacher being attacked for nothing more than telling his students the facts about what they need to do to get into a top art school and recommending how they can get the proper training. Nude figure drawing has been a staple of art education for more than 2000 years and if anything, any art teacher who refrained from mentioning that it as a worthwhile endeavor would be the one worthy of suspension, not Mr. Panse.
What's next here, burkkas for girls and saltpeter for boys? Seriously, is this teacher what these people are afraid of, or their own psychological reactions?

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